Review Summary: Immense
‘Slow Transcending Agony’ was a beautiful album, a mixture of heaviness and melodies, Death/Doom that owed albeit too much to the UK Doom masters My Dying Bride, Anathema and Paradise Lost. My Dying Bride remains a prominent influence on the band, even after it turned heavier and slower, like Funeral Death/Doom on ‘Anhedonie’. It was a tough beast, the tough got it, the others like me went back to the band’s sublime debut. Five years later, Ataraxie comes out with a massive double disc album titled ‘L'Être et la Nausée’. Several listens on, I’m still digesting it.
The band is now more convinced of its direction, it’s sounding in control, it’s determined. In its Death Metal mode, it’s truly Death Metal – crushing, fast and well, obliterating. I couldn’t help but detect an undercurrent of Black Metal even during such parts, and that adds to the appeal. You don’t want just another Death Metal band or a generic part for that matter into music that is trying to do something different. That’s what I like about this album – it’s evolving, doing something ambitious. Indeed there are comparisons to its other band Funeralium and those aren’t unwarranted. It’s not all Bethlehemic like the other band, it’s still rooted in Death/Doom, but there are hardly any melodies – at least not as apparent as on the band’s debut. It’s most comparable to the recent Worship output, but that’s too morose and like swallowing ball bearings.
‘L'Être et la Nausée’ has a vision and it’s not satisfied easily. It takes two discs to make its point and not all of them are filled with the sounds of anguish and dread. Disc one has all but three songs, all different in nature, but all of them are epic and meaningful. Getting their point is quite time consuming and immersive, and that’s something that best describes this band – immersive. It’s not easy to have you hooked on to something that’s minimalist, multi-faceted but not schizophrenic like Disembowelment even though there are such cathartic moments, beggaring belief. Disc two has two songs only, again not altogether removed from the band’s sound, but offering something slightly different but going on to make a statement of its own. That’s the best explanation I can give to this idea of having two disc editions of one album – it’s only about five minutes longer than an average CD length.
Ataraxie has produced something of immense value. Fans of plodding, suspenseful or despair-ridden Doom will find it palatable, others will have to be more patient. Thankfully it’s broader in its scope, venturing other styles old and new in its own vision, and creating something that’s crafted with utmost attention to detail.